The Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) released the following statement today after Lehigh County Commissioners voted unanimously to reject a demand by the anti-Christian Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to alter the county’s historic seal.
“The Pennsylvania Pastors Network applauds the Lehigh County Commissioners for their courageous stand in defense of truth and religious liberty,” said PPN President Sam Rohrer, who is also President of the American Pastors Network (APN,www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net). “An inconvenient truth for FFRF is that from its inception, our nation has recognized the historic role of religion, and our Constitution clearly protects, not prohibits, the freedom to acknowledge God in our public activities and symbols. We stand with the Lehigh County officials who have chosen not to cave to these threats but to stand boldly for truth.”
The issue emerged when Lehigh County officials received a letter from FFRF demanding that the county remove a cross from its official seal under threat of lawsuit. In the Nov. 5 letter, FFRF stated, “We urge the county to immediately discontinue using this seal and to develop a new seal that is both constitutional and representative of all citizens.” The letter requested “a written response outlining what steps the county is taking to comply with constitutional dictates.”
In a 9-0 decision at a meeting last evening, the leaders approved sending a letter to FFRF, stating that the county has no intention of altering the county’s historic seal.
According to LehighCountyLive.com, the letter drafted by county solicitor Matthew Sorrentino states, “It is the position of Lehigh County that the presence of the cross on the seal among all the other items of historical significance has the secular purpose of recognizing the history of the county. As such, it does not violate the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution). Accordingly, the county is not planning on removing the cross from the seal.”
LehighValleyLive.com also quoted Commissioners Chairman Brad Osborne, who said, “This particular seal was developed in 1944. It’s in the blend of symbols that represent the settling of Lehigh County by Christians. Our angle is the secular view of the historical aspect of the seal.”
FFRF’s threats to remove Christian symbols from public places are nothing new. The group routinely targets expressions of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage within the public arena, seeking to separate entirely religion from American life.